Saturday, February 24, 2018

One of the precious lessons I've clung to from my childhood is that there is always someone uglier and someone more attractive than you. There's always someone less intelligent and someone smarter than you. There's always someone less successful and someone more successful than you. There's always someone poorer and someone richer than you. There's always someone not as funny and someone much funnier than you. (Anyone who knows me knows I'd beg to differ with that one. I laugh harder at my jokes than anyone ever should. I think I'm hilarious)

But, the lesson was one taught to keep us humble, grateful and driven to always do better, always BE better.

If you were to meet me, you'd believe I excude confidence; NOT arrogance, but confidence. For the most part, I do. For the most part many people do. But, in the quiet moments, when no one is around, and I'm left with the reflection of all I've ever done, both right and wrong.....those are the times I have my doubts.

I doubt my ability as mother. I doubt the job I've done with my children to make up for the fact that I'm the only parent they have.  I doubt that I've made the right decision when it comes to almost everything I've ever done for the girls. I wonder if I've shown my parents, my kids, my siblings, my nieces, my nephews, my friends, my co-workers, my clients, the cashier at the super market...pretty much everyone in my life how much I love them and what value they have.  I question if I've ruined Molly and Reagan's lives by working so hard to give them a better life; is everything I've ever done counterproductive? 

Then, I'm shaken to the foundational teaching that reminds me there is always someone in a worse place than you and someone in a better place. There is someone who will never see their small child again. There is someone who has lost their parents early in life, lost everyone they love, lost everything they've ever known. There are people who wake up and fight the urge to stay in bed because facing the day is too painful, yet they put one foot in front of the other until they go from struggling not to crumple under the weight of the heartache to learning to walk again.  There are children who know the truest definition of abuse, neglect and abandonment. There are young people, and old, who have never experienced what it is to be truly loved and to have value.  There are people who would trade their lives, and problems... and insecurities.... with me, gladly. There are people I'd never want to trade my burdens with, both because some would be too heavy for me to bear and because some would seem so superficial that I find it to be a better lesson in caring so deeply about others that it does bother me if I feel I've failed them.

Beating myself up for everything I think I've done to fail those around me is beginning to feel more and more like self-pity and self-centeredness. It's time to stop hiding self-hatred behind the mask of caring about others. At some point it's time to stop beating myself up; get up, get moving and make the changes I wish were already in place so I don't question if others in my life know how I feel about them. It's time to stop wishing I had done more, and actually DO MORE.

It's time to be grateful for the fact that someone is fighting a tougher battle than the one I've created in my mind. It's time to get back to always DOING better, always BEING better! 

I refuse to let what my parents taught me be in vain!  I'm a child of the King, it's time I honor that by living that!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Redefining Daddy's Girl

I have written and re-written and re-written this because the subject is one that is dear to my heart and I wanted to express my feelings fully. I know that unless I had a lifetime to write this, I could never say everything on this topic that I would like.  So, after a lot of editing it is.

As much as I love both of my parents, I have always considered myself a Daddy's Girl, but not necessarily by the definition given by, which states:

"Daddy's girl is a phrase that can be interpreted in two ways. First, a daddy's girl can be the result of the way in which a man dotes on his daughter, coddling and protecting her and giving her whatever she wants. A daddy's girl knows that she is her father’s life and often takes advantage of the fact that he can’t stand to see her cry. A daddy's girl can never do anything wrong and is as innocent as the day is long.
Because a daddy's girl is the light of her father’s life, she may be under lock and key. In fact a daddy's girl may proudly - or not - declare that she is owned by her father. A father might try to shelter his daughter from all the unsavory aspects of life, preventing her from developing her independence."

Actually, I'm not at all any of those things.......and I'm okay with that.  I was rarely given whatever I wanted, because a strong work ethic was instilled in my sister and I from an early age.  I always knew my Dad loved me, but to say I was his life would be stretching it a bit; there was never any doubt in my mind that God and my Mom were the most important things in his life (and I cherish that about him).  I could do a lot wrong (and did)...A LOT!!!---but, his graciousness and love forgave a multitude of sins.  I was never innocent, but I sure could have done a lot worse.  I was the light of his life (or I like to think I was) and we all grew up in a somewhat sheltered home where we were protected from a lot of what is wrong in the world, but to say I was under lock and key was not at all the case.  I was given freedom and independence.  I was allowed to make my own mistakes, knowing that if I fell flat on my face my Dad would still love me....and it would be no less than ever before.

At 33 I still call my Dad, "Daddy".  The relationship between my Daddy and I was one where we would butt heads because we were too much alike, but I always knew I was honored to be so much like such an amazing man.  I wanted him to be proud of me, even when taking my own path didn't always fall in line with what he wanted for my life.  I wanted him to look at me and know that he and my Mom did something right; I wanted to be a source of happiness. 

He and I still watch football together and from the time I was very little I can remember crawling up on the couch with Daddy to watch a game.  Some of my most valued silent moments were spent with my Dad, neither of us saying a word; just watching the game and glad to be in each other's company.  It was so nice to grow up and know that he and I had something we appreciated that no one else in the house cared anything allowed for quality time. 

When I was young.....probably Reagan's age (4 yrs old).....I had a standing date every Saturday with my Dad.  It was always either Dunkin Donuts or McDonald's, but those few hours that I got to hang out with the coolest guy in my life were the minutes I lived all week for.  As I got older and we would go toe to toe over, looking back, some of the silliest things, it was the memory of our Saturday date that would break my heart as he nor I would back down, both determined to be right.  I remember thinking, "How did I go from once walking in his shadow to now we are facing off?"  I knew that I always held a special place in my Daddy's heart, but WOW.....was it hard to push through some of those teenage years.  Neither of us probably had it any easier than the other!  

I know that still, to this day, I can count on my Daddy to love me no matter what, and never less than any moment in the past.  I know that I still want to make him proud, this time though as a mother who instills the same sense of independence, self-worth and can-do-itness in her daughters.  More than longing for the reassurance that my parents feel they did something right, I want my Daddy to look at the relationship I have with my little girls and know that they have been blessed with a wonderful example of how to love and parent. All because of the father, and the roles throughout my life he modeled, I have the needed tools to be a wonderful parent.  I want my daughters to be proud to carry on the legacy of the relationship I have with Daddy.  I want them to know that there is nothing "weak" about being a Daddy's Girl.  That because of the relationship I have with my Dad, I am more independent, strong-willed and determined than I think I would have ever been without that special bond....and none of those qualities are anything to be less than proud of.  Even if they defy the definition of "Daddy's Girl"!!!

This is one of the few pictures I have with my Daddy and I will, one day, probably regret disliking having my photo taken so much

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Coming Up.....

Stay tuned..............I'm pouring my heart into a post that I don't want to write haphazardly.  I want to ensure that I fully express my admiration and love for who I'm writing about.  I would love to add your comments to the post!!!

Photo Credit

If you have a special relationship with your Father and consider yourself a Daddy's Girl, please share your story with us.

Thanks and I should have this post up within the next day or two!   :)

Friday, February 11, 2011

You Are So Beautiful!

Photo Credit: Grayson & Jackson, by Alison Little
Who doesn't have a day when they feel like complete crapola? 

When your hair doesn't do what you want it to. 
When you can't find an outfit that you like. 
When you would rather stay in your yoga pants and a hoodie or pajamas, and throw a ponytail up. 

Photo Credit
We all have these times, and if you're a stay-at-home-mom (like me), there's a good chance that you have them more frequently than others.  Well, maybe we don't want these 'jama days' more than most, it could be that we get to take these days more often because we don't have an office to go to, requiring we get dressed.

Photo Credit
Do you feel beautiful when you are bumming it?  I can honestly tell you that on these days I don't necessarily feel attractive.  I know that men say they think it's sexy when a woman has on no make-up and a ponytail or ball cap.  Though, I have a good feeling a lot of these guys have a Victoria's Secret commercial in mind more than your average woman.

On the days when you just want to cuddle up with an over sized blanket, a cup of coffee and put on your favorite pair of socks and flannels, do you find you feel less than productive?  Sometimes productivity makes us feel beautiful, sometimes it's more than make-up and amazing jewelry.  Well, here's a confession......I feel that I get more done during the day if I get up and get dressed.  Does that mean that I always feel like it?  No way!!!  In fact, quite the opposite is typically the case.  Because of this I normally don't feel beautiful.  Welllllllllll, this and the fact that I would love to lose weight faster than I am and dread the reflection in the mirror; but that's a whole other story.  Most days I would trade in beauty for comfort.

What I'm finding out, though, as I get older is that I don't HAVE to trade in comfort for beauty!  Being gorgeous is more about who you are than what you wear.  Attractiveness stems from how you make others feel more than sporting the newest clothing line.  Being comfortable in your own skin is more magnificent than being comfortable in your skinny jeans.  I know, I know.  All of our mothers told us this when we were young.  It's just taken this kid thirty-some-odd years to actually realize how true it is. 

Photo Credit
We all enjoy getting dressed up and having a reason to hit the town, but don't you also feel filled with self-worth when you get a lot done during your day?  Don't you feel accomplished when your children are happy, when you've done your job (no matter the title) to the best of your abilities or when you have completed your list of to-do's before lunchtime (or even bedtime)?  There are so many reasons we feel beautiful, and it's because we ARE!  YOU ARE!  You are beautiful!.....whether you feel that you are or not, you are!  Whether you accomplish all you had set forth for the day or not, you are beautiful!  Just ask any one of your loved ones or friends and I guarantee you they will tell you that you are beautiful!

Beauty not only comes in all shapes, forms and also is comes from a place that is more authentic than how you look to yourself and others. 

Never lose sight of the fact that YOU ARE SO BEAUTIFUL!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Super (Duper) Bowl

When I was still in my teens I was told I would never be able to have children, so when my husband and I found out we were pregnant with our oldest daughter you can imagine the joy felt, but with happiness came uncertainty and fear.  I had my life planned out one way and in an instant the money we thought we'd never have to spend for diapers, clothing and college was spoken for.  The financial aspect was the least of our worries, as life was just, simply not going as I had planned.  Instead it was to be much better than the path I had set forth ahead of me!  SO MUCH BETTER!!!!
Molly's footprints
Newborn Molly
Molly, 2 weeks
Molly was a ham from day one!

Molly was born in June, 2005 and my life changed more than anyone could have prepared me for; our lives were filled with more laughter and joy than in my wildest dreams.  Life was good! 

Molly, taken by Aunt Katy

Our sweet and adorable Molly
Super Bowl, 2006 had one big winner and that was our family!  We found out we were pregnant with Reagan that day and, with the doctor's prediction of not being able to have kids, knew we were surely blessed a second time around.  Molly was 8 months old and getting ready to a big sister. 

How Daddy found out we
were having another girl
4 months pregnant with Reagan
Reagan was born in September and she was TINY, staying in the NICU for 10 days.  This was the first time in my life that I knew what it felt like to be completely out-of-control-of-the-outcome.  I was never so scared in my life, all the while feeling as though I had to put up this 'front' of being completely confident and strong.  One day when I was walking down to see Reagan the father of a little girl who was just next to our baby girl was sitting at a table outside the NICU entrance, sobbing  uncontrollably; as though his entire world had just shattered beneath him.  It did!  His little girl had just lost her fight and the little body that he didn't get to rock in his arms, but so often touched, stroking her hair and running his finger along her little fingers and toes, as he stood outside an incubator, forced to stick his hands through small openings, unable to hold her in his arms would not be going home with her family.  I wanted to be able to take away the pain I saw his body attempt to release through tears and the occasional clinched jaw, you could see his large frame collapsed by the devastation as the table was almost all that kept him from falling to the floor.  In the same instant I wanted to rush to my baby's side, ensuring that she was still alive.  I walked over to him, not sure of what I'd say or what there was to say; nothing makes times like these less agonizing.  I hugged him and didn't say a word, not even I'm sorry.  I knew those two little words seemed so cold, so unimportant, to meaningless at that moment.  I couldn't imagine what he and his wife were going through.  I didn't want to know first-hand.          

Newborn Reagan in the NICU

Newborn Reagan, Still in the NICU

Our funny and beautiful Reagan

Reagan was released and came home, a happy, healthy, wonderful baby.  She rarely cried, neither of our daughters did.  She was a wonderful sleeper and didn't get up much through the night, that is the way they both were.  We were blessed beyond measure!

Clockwise: "Aunt Wally", Molly
and Reagan, Halloween '06
The girls have gotten older and are more of a joy every, single day.  They fill our lives and home with such laughter.  They amaze me more than I could have ever anticipated.


While the Super Bowl is a time when most fans can tell you when, or if, their favorite team took home the trophy and ring, and gather with wonderful friends to chow down on guacamole, chips, dip, wings and pizza....I can honestly say I'll always remember it as one of the greatest in my life, because we found out our team was growing that day!  Life is GREAT!

Molly, Age 5

Reagan, Age 4

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Why We Walk

Meet Landon!  This little boy is the reason we are raising money for and walking with Team in Training!  His story will melt your heart and touch your soul. 

To donate, please go to The Barnes' Team In Training Donation Page

For ever $10 donated one entry will be made in the raffle for a custom-made afghan

....And every person who donates any amount will be entered in (each of the) raffles for:
            1) Crocheted Deluxe Spa Facial Cloth and Hand Towel
            2) Beautiful Crocheted Scarf

Photo Credit: Landon's Blog


After months of joint pains, random fevers and a case of what doctors thought was Epididymitis, we received the news that no family wants to - my beautiful, four year old son, Landon has cancer. On July 4, 2009, Landon was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
After an eleven-day stay at the Levine Children's Hospital, Landon went home to face a new chapter in his life, a three and a half year fight with leukemia. As a parent, one of the biggest challenges was trying to answer when his "blood would be all better". It's hard for a child to understand exactly how long three and a half years is. Landon and his mother counted out 1,300 pebbles and put them into a vase. Every night before bed, Landon picks a pebble from the vase and prays for strength with it, and then puts it into a box.
Once Landon is done with treatment, he wants to take his box of pebbles to Fripp Island and throw them in the ocean and CELEBRATE! Landon's treatment will end September 9, 2012!! This vase of pebbles has really helped Landon visualize the road ahead and when his blood will be better.
Landon is a very outgoing, friendly, sweet, brave and smart little boy! He loves meeting new people, especially children! He has a gift of making everyone feel like they are his best friend. Landon loves playing outside, reading books, helping with recipes in the kitchen, making crafts, playing video games, and watching movies.
Our family would like to encourage all Team In Training participants to fight for a cure! You can check on Landon’s progress by following his blog at:

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Did I Keep My Resolution In January?

This post is going to be short and sweet........

Wow....February is already here?  It feels as though we were just ringing in 2011.  My resolution was to try three new things each month.  In January I did a lot of little 'firsts', but there were two BIG leaps for me that I'm proud I was willing to jump into.  The first was starting a blog, which....well, this is proof that I did.  The second was joining Team In Training and signing up for a half-marathon in San Diego that will take place in June.  I am sooooooo amazed that I have done the latter.  This took overcoming just the mental fears of failure and taking the first step, which will lead to many, many, many more steps as I train for the 13 miles that seem, at this point, as a near impossible goal.

So, did I keep my resolution? ----well, kind of.  Two out of three ain't bad.